Are Criminal Records Public In Louisiana?
Louisiana is a closed record state. Based on the Louisiana Public Records Law, criminal records are criminal history information only available to agencies and authorized persons. These persons may request at the appropriate repositories under RS 15:587. Certified criminal records are not available to persons that need it for immigration, residential/apartments, litigations, out of state housing authority, work visa, or for personal use.
Criminal records in Louisiana are available at the law enforcement agencies. For criminal records in parishes across the state, the Sheriff and the Parish Courts Clerks are the custodians of criminal records.
Expunged criminal history information is not available for access except in rare situations. Interested persons can obtain criminal records from the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information (LSP Bureau), following the Louisiana Revised Statute 15:578, which establishes the LSP Bureau as the central repository for criminal records in the state.
What Is Included In A Criminal Record In Louisiana?
A criminal record is an official document detailing a person’s criminal activity in the state. The record contains details on the convicted crimes, arrests, and sentences of prior offenders. The law enforcement agencies, detention, correctional centers, and courts in Louisiana generates criminal records. Below are some of the information included in a criminal record in Louisiana:
- Full name of the record’s subject, including all known aliases
- Date of birth
- Physical definers of the subject, including body weight, height, hair, and eye color
- The dates of all arrests, indictments, or convictions
- The parish court the court of origin for each case
- The disposition for each case
- A set of fingerprints
- Past criminal offenses
- Prior and present warrants
- Notations of arrests, detentions, and indictments
- Conviction records
How To Look Up My Criminal Records In Louisiana?
Requesting parties can access criminal records at the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information (LSP Bureau). The LSP Bureau is the central repository that handles the documentation and maintenance of criminal history record information (CHRI) generated by law enforcement agencies criminal and justice agencies in Louisiana. The LSP Bureau also has a Louisiana Computerized Criminal History (LACCH) database where law enforcement agencies can access criminal records. The records database contains arrest, disposition, and incarceration details of past offenders in the state of Louisiana. The data also contains information on persons who have applied for certain positions that require a fingerprint-based background check.
Individuals can request copies of their criminal records in person, by mail or online via the Internet Background Check.
To request personal certified criminal records in person, complete the Right to Review Authorization Form and Right to Review Disclosure Form and submit it together with a $26 fee for processing and a valid state-issued ID or Drivers License. An extra $10 fee for fingerprinting is also required. Both fees are payable by money order, business check, or cashier’s check to the Department of Public Safety. Payments must not be made with cash or personal checks. In-person requests are available from Monday to Friday (except for holidays) between 8:00 am and 3:30 pm. Applications submitted after 3:00 pm will get a response the following next business day via mail or pick up. Requestors that desire a same-day response should submit their requests before 3:00 pm.
In-person requests should be made at:
Bureau of Criminal Identification
7919 Independence Blvd,
Baton Rouge, LA
Requestors should mail a set of their fingerprints, required fees, and a completed Authorization Form and Rap Disclosure Form, which should include the person’s name and address. The required fee is $26, payable by money order, business check, or cashier’s check to the Department of Public Safety. Payments must not be made with cash or personal checks. Mail-in requests should be sent to:
Bureau of Criminal Identification
PO. Box 66614 Mail Slip A–6
Baton Rouge, LA 70896
Note that the mail process takes approximately 15–21 business days from the time of submission and payment.
Also, requestors may complete any of these forms depending on who the requesting party is:
- Authorization Form: Used together with the appropriate Disclosure Form when requesting criminal records checks
- General Disclosure Form—Used by employers to request background checks on an employee
- Rap Disclosure Form—Used to request background checks for various boards such as State Board of Nursing, La. Board of Pharmacy, State Board of Medical Examiners, State ABC Board, etc.
- Right to Review Authorization Form—Used to request personal criminals
- Right to Review Disclosure Form—Used together with the Right to Review Authorization form
- Right to Review Attorney or Authorized Representative Form - Used by an applicant to authorize an attorney or a personal representative or to request the Right to Review.
How To Search Criminal Records For Free In Louisiana?
Criminal history information at the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information (LSP Bureau) is not available free of charge. However, the LSP Bureau may grant fee reductions to persons and organizations, including educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, child services, religious entities, etc.
Interested persons may use the Sex Offender Registry for free. The registry is maintained by the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information (LSP Bureau), and it contains information on convicted sex offenders and child predators.
How To Search Criminal Records Online In Louisiana?
The Louisiana State Police Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information (LSP Bureau) maintains an online database of criminal records. Here, interested persons may use the Internet Background Check (IBC) to conduct name-based criminal record checks online. To use the Internet Background Check (IBC), applicants must have a registered business or primary account user account. However, persons who do not have an existing account may create one in these few steps:
- With a mouse, sign name on the box and click the Capture Signature button.
- Fill in the Business Account Information with physical address information, mailing address, and other contact information required.
- Register the Primary Account-holder; this will be the authorized representative of the business who will be responsible for the use of the Internet Background Check system. Follow these steps to register:
- Fill in the User Account Registration Screen with name, date of birth, social security number, driver’s license number, gender, race, home address, phone, and email address.
- Fill in the Maiden Name or Aliases Screen.
- Enter three security questions, which may be used to recover the account if the user forgets the password.
- Review the registration or add additional Users.
- Mail a copy of the occupational license, fire marshall inspection, and tax ID letter to the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information.
- Receive an authorization or rejection letter, depending on the outcome of the registration.
Note that all users of the Internet Background Check (IBC) will have a name-based criminal background check performed on them before authorization within the system. Employees that do not pass the background check will not be authorized to use the system.
After registration, authorized users can use the system to perform a background check in the following steps:
- Login to the registered account with a user name, password, and business code. (The password and business code are case sensitive).
- Enter Aliases or Maiden Names.
- Enter Applicant Information consisting of the applicant’s name and demographic information. The following fields must be completed:
- First Name
- Last Name
- Date of Birth
- Social Security Numbers
- Fill in the Maiden Name or Aliases Screen.
- Capture Applicant’s Signature.
- Review the application and make necessary corrections where necessary.
- Choose processing time; the applicant may either process the application immediately or save the application on the system and process it later.
- Make payment with a credit card and receive results.
Note that the application results will be available for fourteen (14) days from the time of processing. Also, saved applications are available for fourteen (14) from the processing time, applications not processed within that time are deleted, and the applicant will have to start the application process all over.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in
Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
How To Get Criminal Records Expunged In Louisiana?
According to La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 976, petitioners once arrested but not convicted of a crime may apply to have their criminal records expunged if they meet up with the following requirements:
- The district attorney in charge of the criminal case did not prosecute the petitioner
- The statute of limitations for conducting charges has expired, and no proceedings were launched
- The charges against the registrant were dismissed
- The court granted a motion to cancel the charges against the petitioner
- The petitioner was acquitted of the charges
- The court later determines that the petitioner is innocent and entitled to compensation for a wrongful conviction
- Five years have passed since DUI arrest date
Petitioners that were apprehended or convicted of a felony or misdemeanor may apply to have their records expunged under La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 977, if they meet up with the following requirements:
- Not less than five years have passed since the end of the petitioner’s sentence, probation, deferred adjudication, if the crime was a misdemeanor
- The conviction was suspended, and the prosecution was dismissed
- Not less than ten years have passed since the end of the petitioner’s sentence, probation, deferred adjudication, if the crime was a felony
- The petitioner has not expunged any felony in 15 years except if the petitioner’s conviction suspended was suspended and the prosecution dismissed
- The petitioner has not expunged any misdemeanor in five years or ten years for DUI convictions
- The petitioner has no pending criminal charge
- The petitioner has been employed for ten consecutive years.
Note that the petitioner must remain crime-free in the waiting period. Otherwise, the expungement will not be approved.
Under La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. Article 978 certain felony convictions may not be expunged even if the petitioner meets all requirements mentioned above. These include:
- Violent crimes, sex offenses, domestic abuse battery, and certain drug offenses Certain traffic offenses, including driving under the influence and reckless driving
- Violent crimes defined by or enumerated in RS 14:2(B)
- A criminal offense or sex offense against a minor as defined by RS 15:541
- Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law violations, except the following:
- Possession of a controlled dangerous substance
- Possession of a controlled dangerous substance with the intent to disseminate
- Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law violation punishable by a term of incarceration of fewer than five years.
- Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law violation, which may be expunged under Article 893(E).
- Domestic violence and abuse crimes
- Sex crimes that require registration as a sex offender
- Any crimes against children
- Abuse or assault of persons 65 years of age or older
- Class A felonies, except for offenses related to marijuana
Petitioners should contact the Clerk of Court, where the criminal case was heard for directives on expungement. During the process of expungement, the following information on the petitioner and the crime may be required:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Arrest charges
- Dates of arrest
- The arresting agency
- Charges that ended in convictions
- Conviction date
- Contact address, including city and zip code
- Phone number
- The name of the parish and court where the petitioner was charged for each offense
Generally, the process of expungement takes up to three to four months, depending on the type of crime.
Who Can See My Expunged Criminal Record In Louisiana?
In Louisiana, expunged records of convictions and arrests are considered private, as they are removed from public view and maintained by the appropriate repositories. However, the following persons may still be able to access the records on certain condition:
- Law enforcement or criminal justice agencies and prosecutors requesting the expunged record in writing provided that they can prove that the records are needed for an investigation, prosecution, enforcing criminal law, or other statutorily or administrative duties or as a requirement of sex offender registration.
- Anyone with an order from a court with competent jurisdiction over the case
- The subject of the expunged record or their legal representative
- A member of the criminal justice or law enforcement agency, prosecutor, or judge, requesting the expunged record in writing, provided that they can prove that the records are needed to defend law enforcement in a civil suit for damages arising from undeserved arrest or other civil litigation.